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It is a fact of life that appearance matters. After all, it is part of your personal branding – how you present yourself through wardrobe and makeup choices affects how you are perceived by others. At the workplace, putting forward a well-groomed appearance is even more crucial for employers and colleagues to view you as a responsible and professional employee. Here are 10 work makeup tips to ensure that you always look polished at work, and you might very well find yourself the next in line for that promotion you’ve been gunning for.

1. Start your makeup routine with a primer


With an overflowing inbox, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your makeup. Ensure that your morning masterpiece has not gone to waste shortly after lunch hour by investing in a good primer that smoothens skin texture, and helps your makeup stay on longer without flaking or caking.

Clio Kill Cover Egg Pore Primer

Try: Clio Kill Cover Egg Pore Primer (SGD23.90). This is used as the first step of your makeup routine to help conceal pores and control sebum – an important function in humid Singapore! It offers a silk-like finish to help create a smooth canvas for easier makeup application. On top of these, it contains tea tree oil, which is known for its skin-loving properties to soothe and calm irritated and acne-prone skin.

2. Use a brightening concealer



The evidence of you toiling away at that important report should show up in your presentation but not on the state of your eyebags. Insufficient rest and high level of stress can make you look run down, which may give the impression of tardiness. If you are worried that your exhaustion shows on your face, try using a concealer with brightening properties. It would help you fake a good night’s sleep by bringing radiance to the under-eye area all while concealing dark circles.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer And Highlighter_product shot, $55

Try: Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer & Highlighter (SGD55). Known for their Flawless Face philosophy, Laura Mercier’s range of Candleglow products mimics the flattering effect of candlelight on skin. This new concealer that will be launching as part of the brand’s 20th anniversary celebration works on the face and is great for the under eye, thanks to an applicator that fits nicely around the contours of the eyes. It gives a sheer coverage with a luminous finish and is available in seven shades. It will be available exclusively at Sephora from 13 October 2016, and at the other Laura Mercier counters from 1 November 2016.

3. Contour your way to success



For a workplace-appropriate look, skip the Kim Kardashian style of contouring that involves painting various stripes of colour on your face to carve out cheekbones that could cut glass. Although the results are fabulous, that contouring style can look too harsh in a professional setting. Instead, stick to just one product that is one to two shades darker than your skin tone and gently sculpt your face and add dimension. Remember, it is easier to build product than to remove excess, so start with a light hand to avoid a muddy look.

It Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette

Try: IT Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette (SGD58). Developed by leading plastic surgeons and using anti-ageing ingredients, this palette has six shades, including two highlighting shades (one with shimmer and the other is matte), to help you with all your contouring needs, and no matter what skin tone you have. If you’re a newbie in contouring, the palette also comes with a detailed instruction guide to show you exactly how. Another reason to get this: the palette includes a regular mirror and a mirror that is five times amplified so you can better create your look. This is available in Sephora.

4. Apply blush to add radiance

apply blusher with beauty blender

The fluorescent lighting in offices are often not that flattering, and can even make your complexion look sallow and washed out. With the help of blush, you can bring life and colour back into your face. After applying it in the way that suits your face (click here and here for more info), remember to lightly buff your blush in with your contour to avoid any obvious lines between the two colours!


Try: Beauty.blusher by beautyblender (SGD30). Inspired by the original beautyblender, this sponge is created in the right size for the apples of the cheeks. Just like the beautyblender, it helps to blend out both cream and powder products with precision and seamlessly. Its grey colour is said to help distinguish colour undertones more easily so you can create a better blushing effect. This is available at Sephora.

5. Highlight to look more awake



While contouring can help create sharper features, highlighting (or strobing) helps defining your facial features with strategically placed highlights to create a natural, radiant, and fresh-face glow. This is a great technique for when your complexion look dull and fatigue.

Strobing isn’t all that complicated. Think of where light naturally hits the high points of your face, such as brow bone, inner corners of the eye, nose bridge, tip of the nose, highest points of the cheekbone, cupid’s bow, and chin, and dab the highlight there for a subtle sheen after foundation and blush. Typically, champagne tones and pink-champagne tones suit fair skin and light-medium skin, while those with olive tones can look for deeper golden tones, but there’s no hard and fast rule here; feel free to explore.

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pressed Champagne Pop

Try: Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pressed Champagne Pop (SGD58). This product has a strong cult following because of its flattering shade that helps bring out a natural-looking radiance.

6. Always fill in your brows

fill in brows 2

Eyebrows are really, really important. Making an effort to put on makeup for the entire face and then neglecting the eyebrows is like if Edvard Munch had painted ‘The Scream’ without the open mouth; it is just not complete. You don’t have to fill them in extensively like those ultra-defined brows that have been making their rounds on Instagram and Youtube. Just lightly sketch in sparse parts of your brow to define those arches, and you will look much more groomed and put together even with minimal makeup on.

Maybelline Fashion Brow Duo Shaper

Try: Maybelline Fashion Brow Duo Shaper (SGD14.90). This two-in-one product offers you the precision of a pencil and softness of powder. Start by shaping your brows using the pencil, and then fill in the brows with powder to achieve a soft-focus look.

7. The “secret” eye makeup: Tightlining



Want to skip eyeliner, or even eye makeup altogether? Try tightlining, a technique of using eyeliner at and between individual eyelash roots to add definition to your eyes. It is also known as an “invisible eyeliner” because it is so, so subtle, but the effects of bigger eyes and thicker and fuller eyelashes actually show.

Play 101 blending pencil #14

Try: Etude House Play 101 Blending Pencil in #14 (SGD16.90). Part of a collection of makeup pencils that can be used on the eyes, cheeks and lips, this dark brown shade has a creamy finish making it easy to glide on.

8. Try blue mascara



Blue mascara sounds like something that should be reserved for wild parties and not the workplace, but when used sparingly, they work wonders in making your eyes pop by brightening the whites of the eye. If the thought of using blue on your eyelashes scares you, the trick is not to go full-on blue, but instead pair it with your usual black mascara to tone down the wild electric blue into a deep indigo. For an even more subtle look but yet still look alert, you can apply just a touch of blue onto the tips of your lashes.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Lengthening Mascara in Beyond Blue

Try: Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Lengthening Mascara in Beyond Blue (SGD42). This is an all-rounder that doesn’t just lengthen and volumise, but also curl and lift. With a smudge-free formula, this is a mascara that can last through a crazy work day.

9. Wear bold lip colour for a confidence boost


Even if a bold shade falls low on your list of go-to lippies for everyday wear, you might want to consider it for days when you will be making a presentation, or have an important meeting. A power lip makes an impact and draws attention to you when you need it most, and can even make the statement that you are a strong and confident employee.

mufe artist rouge lipstick

Try: Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge lipstick (SGD35). The newly launched Artist Rouge collection carries 46 shades, including several bold, work-appropriate colours. Open this article in a new tab so you can see all the colours in the collection later.


10. Be mindful of your office lightning


Office lightings are often bright and fluorescent, which brings out the sallow undertones present especially in Asian skin tones. To counteract this, you can opt for a warm tone palette for work makeup and choose eyeshadows, blush, and lipsticks that are in the warm spectrum such as peach, gold, taupe, chocolate-browns, burnt orange, berry, mauve, and plums, as opposed to light pink, blue, purple, green, and silver etc. Also, if you do touchups at work, look for a natural light source instead of at your desk to avoid over-applying due to the harsh fluorescent.

L'Oreal Paris La Palette Nude in Rose

Try: L’Oreal Paris La Palette Nude in Rose (SGD29.90). This palette comes in 1o gorgeous but wearable shades that are flattering for Asian skin tones. We’ve created a few looks using it. Check out our makeup tutorials on Asian eyes.